COVID-19 Updates: Fall Semester

Frequently Asked Questions

Whom does the General Counsel (GC) represent?

The GC provides legal advice and representation to Middlebury, including all its schools and programs. This includes providing advice and counsel to Middlebury’s trustees, officers, administrators, faculty, and staff acting in their official capacities on a variety of issues affecting Middlebury. 

The office does not and cannot represent individual faculty, staff members, or students in personal legal matters.

What type of legal services does the GC provide?

The GC provides a range of legal services to Middlebury in a variety of fields, including labor and employment, student and faculty issues, real estate, corporate governance, contracts, intellectual property, and tax, among others.

Will the GC represent me if I am sued?

If you are sued in your official capacity as a Middlebury employee, the GC will represent you directly or through counsel engaged by Middlebury. The OGC cannot provide legal advice or representation on personal matters to students, employees, or others. 

Can I retain outside counsel for a Middlebury matter?

Individuals should not contact outside counsel concerning a new Middlebury legal matter without first consulting the OGC. The GC retains and pays outside counsel on behalf of Middlebury. If you believe outside counsel is needed for a matter, you should contact the GC. The GC will evaluate the matter and determine whether outside counsel is necessary or appropriate, and if so, which counsel to use.

Please see Use of Outside Counsel on this site for more information.

What should I do if someone tries to serve me with legal documents?

Vermont staff and faculty cannot accept service of legal documents on behalf of Middlebury. If a process server attempts to serve you with documents, you should politely decline and direct him or her to the Office of the General Counsel. If you are served documents that name you personally in your official capacity, notify the GC immediately and forward the documents to this office (Old Chapel 402). You may wish to keep a copy for your records. The GC will review the documents, determine what steps are necessary, and discuss your involvement with you, if any. If you are served with a subpoena or other legal document addressed to you concerning a non-Middlebury matter, you should seek the advice of personal counsel. California staff and faculty should direct process servers or others attempting to serve subpoenas to the vice president's office.

Are my communications with OGC attorneys confidential?

Most communications with the GC are protected from disclosure to third parties by the attorney-client privilege. However, information may be shared with Middlebury officials to serve Middlebury’s interests. We will make every effort to keep communications confidential to the extent possible. If you have any questions or concerns about the confidentiality of a particular conversation, you should ask the GC as the conversation begins.

Do you have guidance or tips to deal with outside counsel?

  • Ask questions, stay involved: you are entitled to understand what the outside counsel is doing.
  • Speak freely/frankly about the case to outside counsel—your experience and understanding of nuance matter.
  • Prepare for phone calls with outside counsel in advance. Middlebury is billed for every minute that a lawyer spends on our matter, including the time spent on personal conversation.
  • Gathering and collating documents can generally be done more quickly and efficiently in-house, with guidance from the OGC.
  • When responding to a draft document, collect comments internally and send them to the OGC for communicating to the outside attorney for efficiency.
  • Ask about new or additional attorneys or law firm staff who join calls or meetings. We ordinarily engage a limited number of lawyers for specific tasks.
  • If outside counsel offers to provide a service, check with the General Counsel’s office before accepting. Presume that Middlebury will be billed for all services.

How do I report unethical behavior?

Middlebury has selected EthicsPoint, an independent provider of hotline services, to provide you with a simple and confidential way to report concerns that may involve possible noncompliance with government or external agency regulations, related Middlebury policies, errors or irregularities in Middlebury's financial accounting practices, and unethical behavior. 

To whom should I report suspected child abuse?

All faculty, staff and students who suspect abuse or neglect of a child are required to make a report in accordance with Vermont law within 24 hours of the time information regarding the suspected abuse or neglect was first received or observed.

If you suspect a child is being abused or neglected, please call Vermont's Child Protection Line to report it (24 hours a day, 7 days a week) at 1-800-649-5285. If a child is in immediate danger, dial 911 or the local police first. Please click here for additional information.

What should I do if I receive a call or letter from an outside attorney?

If you are contacted by an attorney in connection with Middlebury business, or your work for Middlebury, notify the OGC immediately. The OGC will work with you to determine what steps are necessary. Please do not speak or correspond directly with an attorney representing someone outside Middlebury who is engaged in or threatening a lawsuit.

If an employee learns of facts that may lead to a claim or lawsuit being filed against Middlebury, the employee should immediately report the matter to the OGC.

What if I need a document notarized?

The OGC provides notary services, as do several other people on Middlebury campus, which are listed below:

Notaries on Middlebury Campus

Name

Department

Building

Phone Extension

Jane Aube

Student Financial Services

Service Building 103

5790

Charlene Barrett

President’s Office

Old Chapel 404

5289

Nicole Chance

International Programs & Off-Campus Study

Sunderland 125

5847

Brenda Currier

Office of Advancement

700 Exchange Street 209

5922

Amal Duprey

Parton Center for Health and Wellness

Parton Health Center

3636

Jean Kelty

Office of Finance and Administration

Old Chapel 101

5503

Stephanie Neil

President’s Office

Old Chapel 301

5117

Susan Parsons Ritter

President’s Office

Old Chapel 303

3289

Natalie Steen

Office of the General Counsel

Old Chapel 402

5004

Deb Wales

Office of Advancement

700 Exchange Street 204

5616

 

What should I do if I find my course materials posted on a course sharing website like Course Hero?

There are a number of course sharing websites that specialize in the uploading, sharing and selling of academic works and teaching materials. Examples of such websites include Course Hero, StudyBlue or OneClass. As an instructor, the teaching-related intellectual property you create for your class belongs to you. Some examples of teaching materials that are protected by copyright include but are not limited to: course packs, lecture notes, PowerPoint presentations, syllabi, lab manuals or tests you create. Materials such as these can be distributed outside the class or posted on publicly accessible internet sites only if you have given copyright permission. Student created, non-verbatim notes of course lectures are acceptable to share because they are created by students in their own words. Instructors are encouraged to remind students that course materials created by you are protected under copyright laws and require your permission to redistribute or to post online.  

If you find your teaching materials on a course sharing website, you must notify the internet service provider (ISP) in writing that content on their website is in violation of copyright (an ISP is the company that hosts the website, such as Comcast or Verizon). Course Hero provides information on how you can submit a request to have materials taken down on their website, found here: https://www.coursehero.com/copyright/.  The Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA) also provides a process for copyright owners to send a “take down notice” to ISP’s to formally request that their intellectual property be removed from the website. Once a DMCA request has been submitted, the ISP is required by law to take the content down. As long as they do, and in a timely manner, ISPs are generally free from legal consequences. If the course sharing website is located in another country, such as OneClass, which is hosted on a Canadian server, they are not required to take down the materials without a court order, though they may choose to do so without one. 

To have your course materials taken down from a U.S. server, DMCA Section 512(c)(3)(i)-(vi) provides six “elements of notification” that must be included in your take down notice, which are summarized below. You should refer to Section 512(c)(3) to make sure that you have included sufficient detail in all six pieces of information to ensure your request will be enforceable. 

The six elements required in a DMCA take down notice include:

  1. A written notification signed by the copyright owner. If you send it by email, include a digital signature by typing “/s/” and then your name at the end of the notice.
  2. Your full name and contact information (email, address and/or phone number).
  3. A description, name, or title of the copyrighted materials. A DMCA request only applies to material you created and are the copyright owner. It does not apply to third party materials that are part of your course.
  4. A link to the website(s) where you want your materials taken down - the specific URL(s) that are using your content. Attach copies of images (screenshots) or text to assist the ISP in locating your material.
  5. A statement of ownership of the content (how it belongs to you and how it was stolen).
  6. A statement under penalty of perjury that you are telling the truth, that the information provided is accurate to the best of your knowledge, and that you are in fact the authorized copyright owner or authorized to act on behalf of the copyright owner.  

If the material is not removed after a DMCA take down notice has been sent, you could follow up with a Cease and Desist letter, or contact the Office of the General Counsel for advice on other avenues of relief.

How can I contact the OGC?

The OGC is located in Old Chapel, fourth floor.
We can be reached at 802-443-5004 or gc@middlebury.edu.